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Skiing on one ski

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I have seen this drill taught from afar and I have seen an olympic skier ski gates on one ski...I have tried to do it myself with limited success...I can turn using the inside edge but turning using the outside edge is very hard (left ski easy to turn to the right hard to turn to the left)

My question is - Is this a good drill? and assuming it is why? and how do you turn on the outside edge?
post #2 of 21
Hey, do I love this question, or WHAT?!

If you're not balanced on one ski at a time, you're not balanced. Do this:

(a) Go to Aspen/Snowmass.

(b) Find Eric Ward of Shim Balance System on the mountain.

(c) Have Eric or his designee take care of your balance problem.

(d) Then, go out there and ski on one foot - you'll be amazed!!!
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Aspen might be a little difficult...it would be a lot easier for me to get to Essex Junction!

Are you suggesting it is a boot/balance problem? While I definitely do not have the balance of a ballerina, I am not an oafish clod...now it is possible I could have some boot issues...
post #4 of 21
If you have an alignment problem, skiing on one ski could be extremely difficult. The exercise is hard enough for most skiers who don't have problems. If you do it right, skiing on one ski can be a great exercise to refine the movements that are needed for high performance skiing. If you do it wrong, skiing on one ski can also be a great exercise for perfecting inefficient skiing movements. Assuming that you don't have an alignment problem, the reason why making a turn with all of your weight on the inside ski is so hard is most likely because you are trying to lean into the turn instead of moving your center of mass forward and to the inside of the turn. Many people need to do other exercises first to develop new movement patterns before they are able to perform them as required for one ski skiing.
post #5 of 21
What Rusty describes is the shin on the boot cuff and the hips moving inside the turn you're doing on the outside edge. You want a relatively open knee joint. The exercise is to help you make that same movement while employing the outside foot--that is, to get the COM forward and inside of "normal" turns for more powerful edging.

Some things you can do to develop the ability to balance on the outside edge of the skis include stepping uphill while traversing on relatively shallow terrain, traversing the same slopes on the uphill edge of the uphill ski and then making steeper and steeper traverses on that edge on the easy hill. If you maintain shin contact with the cuff and keep your shoulders parallel with the slope (angulate), you'll avoid the upper body tipping that he mentioned. Once you can use the outside edges, you can take the move to gradually steeper slopes and make turns in either direction on one ski. I find it much easier to do this if I use the unweighted foot to just trace "normal" activities on the snow. Lifting that foot up blocks the hips some, but leaving the leg long, so the ski just touches the snow, makes it more familiar.
post #6 of 21
We use this drill a lot with younger skiers in race programs. To make a blanket startement, If an athlete cannot do this, they are not balanced enough to ski gates well. I know of no high level athletes that cannot ski the fall line comfortably on one ski. Hell, when you watch the national teams in off season drills some of them run panel slalom on one ski- fast.

While you may have an alignment problem, I would follow therusty's advice and work on the technique part first. I agree with everything that he and Kneale said, but let me try to simplify it as we do with J4's, 5's and 6s. You must (yes, must) get your CM forward. To do this, start by making sure that your hands are forward and your knee is flexed and applying pressure tot he tongue of your boot. Back seat and you are dead.

Don't give up on this- it will make you a much better skier by getting you intot he front seat and giving you a much keener sense of what we mean by for/aft balance.

good luck.
post #7 of 21
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post
I find it much easier to do this if I use the unweighted foot to just trace "normal" activities on the snow. Lifting that foot up blocks the hips some, but leaving the leg long, so the ski just touches the snow, makes it more familiar.
It's an initiation problem, getting the COM to the outside of the ski. I never could do that comfortably either, until I broke a ski one day last year, and was forced to do it. I did a right turn, stopped, did a left turn and right turn, stopped, etc. Then a friend came up to me and told me to keep my right foot in position like I had a ski attached. I then skied lefts and rights all the way to the lift and up to the summit where I had a spare pair of skis. Of course that's assuming everything else balancewise is right.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input...I will try the drill this weekend and let you know how it works out...intuitively the "staying forward" makes a lot of sense...thanks again
post #9 of 21
Some tips--

On the inside-edge (easy) side you may want your joints a bit more extended. On the outside-edge (hard, some people call this the goofy edge) side you may may want more flex. This is exactly the same as two-footed skiing with one long leg and one short leg. Remember to have an active ankle when transitioning between turns.

Try just standing in shoes. Pick up one foot. What did you do to balance? Did you tip your entire body to center you over your one foot? Try it again, this time move your hip over the one foot. Assume you are wearing a button-down shirt, the line of buttons is exactly vertical as you align over one foot. Practice that just standing in street shoes. Hip over, upper body vertical, aka angulation. Now stand there and flex you ankle up and down a bit to exercise your balance.

Now do that same routine in ski boots.

Now do it standing on one ski on flat.

Now try skiing on one ski. Just very slight direction changes out of the fall line on a very easy pitch, light green or even your learning slope. Remember hip forward and into the turn on the goofy edge.

It's okay to use your poles as outriggers. Do not lean on them but just have them touch the snow so you get some sensory input to help you balance.

Practice Practice Practice. You will not get it in 30'. You may need two or three or four or more runs. Keeps at it. Once you nail it you'll have it.

Have someone watch and make sure you form is okay. Your form should be pretty much what it is when two-foot skiing. Hip moves into turn, maintain shin-tongue contact. It is possible to ski on one foot by leaning back and cranking against the back of the boot to get the heel around. Do not do that.

One of the things you have to get over is the natural reaction to avoid face planting which may be forcing you back. If you have to, move too far into a few turns and fall. No biggy. If won't hurt.
post #10 of 21
we've been doing a lot of one ski drills lately with my ski team kids (9-11). something to challenge them and work on balance while Tahoe was in the middle of 5 weeks of no snow. even my most challenged kids, started "getting it" after lots of practice, practice, practice. you can't really "teach" those kids how to do it, but they more or less figure it out.... gaining confidence to roll the ski on the outside edge and to set that edge as they make a turn.

on a side note, even my 5 y/o's coach had them doing 1 ski drills.... so you can never be too young to goof around and get exposed to it.

also, in my days of racing.. our coaches would have us do top to bottom runs down the steepest, iciest bump run out our home mountain (Outer Limits @ Killington, VT) on one ski .
post #11 of 21
(1) If you have trouble getting forward, try skiing with shims under the TOES of your boots.

(2) Focus on bending the ANKLES, and do NOT bend at the waist AT ALL.

(3) Move the pelvis forward, as if you're doing the nasty with the mountain.

(4) Try standing tall, taller, tallest.

(5) Leave one ski off - use only one ski.

(6) Have FAITH and DIVE FORWARD toward your turn.

(7) Cheat. Use fatter skis (not fair, but what the hey?)
post #12 of 21
Focusing on my foot helps me, along with the aforementioned advice. I try to move my foot so its length is parallel to the tipped ski edge.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
This has been really helpful...I am going to print out this thread and give it a shot this weekend!
post #14 of 21
Even if you are aligned and balanced, skiing well on one ski can still be difficult without practice. Skiing straight on one foot or another should be relatively easy to do for a decent period of time, but when it comes to linking turns on one foot a host of other skills come into play.

I've found that using a weighted release drill, or white pass turn, is good practice for building up the movements that one needs to have in order to ski on one foot but with the added stability of having both feet on the snow through the transition. A search should yield plenty of descriptions for both of these drills.

One important thing to keep in mind while skiing on one foot is that the other foot should not become a spectator. The inside and outside foot should still be playing its role in skiing, just off of the snow. This means that the outside foot should not be pointed off in some odd direction and the inside foot should be actively tipped into and driving the turn.
post #15 of 21
A great exercise an examiner just had me do is 90/10 skiing where you ski with mostly all the weight on one ski, but keep the other just touching the snow. Of course you'd switch off so you do this with both feet. It's easier than lifting one off the snow, and also doesn't screw up your mechanics and COM placement as much, while still making you turn on that uncomfortable little toe edge.
post #16 of 21
Making the same movements with the lifted ski as you would skiing 2 footed helps.

Also, look at the angle of the lifted ski to determine your fore aft balance. Ski tipped up = backseat.
post #17 of 21
This has inspired me to mess around with 1 ski. I will just wait for a day when its quiet. The learning zone at my home mtn is scarier than the steepest double black there. --Tim
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
I did not get to work on this too much over the weekend...I also realized that one of my BIG problems is my new footbeds had me way out of alignment which made skiing on the outer edge almost impossible...I fixed the alignment and tried some of the drills I had a little success but I still need to work on it...keeping my weight forward was critical...thanks for the insight...I will keep trying!
post #19 of 21
just chimming in to say I tried this after reading these posts and the tips people posted worked like a charm - I've always had trouble with this drill, and was managing to do it after a couple of hours with fairly good consistency - shin contact / knee flex for me was the key. Plus I have to say it was fun hanging out on the beginner hill for a few runs, and watching people get such a thrill out of simply sliding (forward, sideways, backwards ) down the hill. Thanks!
post #20 of 21
I always gave up on this drill early on for whatever reason but this thread encouraged me to give it a shot. The advice that worked best for me was keeping my weight way forward - I really had to pull my foot back. Like 97% of the skiers out there, I'm generally just a little in the backseat (so I can only be better than 96%). The position that worked here was way forward - dare I say too far forward as in you'd probably loose your tails a lot if you skied this way. I'll keep at it and see if I can ski on one ski with more neutral balance.

The 90/10 exercise someone mentioned is 100x easier.
post #21 of 21
I found I could skid my ski by sliding the tail but it was impossible for me to carve turns on the ski unless I was at a speed way past my one ski comfort zone. Any help?
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